Jun 11, 2013, 2:17 PM EDT
If there is anyone that you should be rooting for in college hoops, regardless of where your fan allegiance lies, it’s Kansas forward Jamari Traylor.
His story has been told multiple times. To make a long story short (even though you should take the time to read one, or both of those links), Traylor found out that his father got a life sentence for cocaine trafficking when he was a freshman in high school. It sent him on a downward spiral that, eventually, got him kicked out of his mom’s house and forced him into homelessness for about a year.
If you think you’ve experienced a cold, Chicago winter, imagine spending it sleeping in the back of a rusted out Buick. It got to the point that Traylor was going to school simply so he would have something to eat. With the help of a local high school coach, Traylor was able to pull himself off of the streets and, eventually, to IMG Academy, which led him to Lawrence, KS.
It hasn’t been the easiest two years for Traylor at Kansas, as he had to redshirt his freshman year because he was academically ineligible and spent much of last season glued to the bench.
But that’s a breeze compared to what Traylor’s already been through in his life. He’s appreciative of his opportunity, enough so that he broke down in tears as he was introduced to a crowd of kids at a Kansas basketball camp this week.
“That’s coach Self. He knows me. He’s proud of me. It’s good for him to share that with the kids, so I understand,” Traylor told KUSports.com’s Gary Bedore. “Sometimes I just get emotional in talking about it. It’s crazy. Little kids look up to me. My life can inspire other people, so it’s a little touching to me.”
Last week, we took a look at the Kansas program and how they have become so successful at developing players at the college level. Self should expect nothing less from Traylor, who is a terrific athlete that has a high-level motor and doesn’t have an issue with working hard to improve.
He may make the NBA one day, and he may not. But the bottom line is that he is an inspiration, an example that even those in the worst situations can make it out.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Mar 15, 2014, 2:04 AM EDT
Why does Georges Niang look like he was in an MMA fight?
Mar 15, 2014, 1:55 AM EDT
Get caught up on all of Friday’s bubble action.
Mar 15, 2014, 1:50 AM EDT
George Washington shot 50.8% from the field and had six players score in double figures in their eight-point win over UMass.
Mar 15, 2014, 1:48 AM EDT
Arizona is playing as well as anyone in the country. How come no one is talking about them?
Mar 15, 2014, 12:50 AM EDT
The early portion of Big 12 didn’t go well for the Baylor Bears, to say the least. At one point Scott Drew’s team lost five straight and seven of eight Big 12 contests, going from a team some thought to be a contender for the league title to one that looked destined to simply sit…
Mar 15, 2014, 12:27 AM EDT
No. 21 UConn advances to the American Athletic Conference title game, and they’ve got their role players to thank for it.
Mar 14, 2014, 11:59 PM EDT
Duke was involved in another controversial call. Did the refs get it right?
Mar 14, 2014, 10:52 PM EDT
Rivals Richmond and VCU met for the third time Friday night, with the Rams completing the season sweep.
Mar 14, 2014, 10:16 PM EDT
LaDontae Henton scored 26 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Providence to its first Big East tournament title game appearance in 20 years.
Mar 14, 2014, 9:52 PM EDT
Iowa State lit up Kansas for 94 points. Is it time to be worried about the Jayhawks defensively?
Mar 14, 2014, 9:35 PM EDT
No. 11 Syracuse shot just 32.7% in their loss to N.C. State, the sixth time in the last eight games that the Orange have failed to shoot at least 40%. That’s an issue entering the NCAA tournament.
Mar 14, 2014, 9:35 PM EDT
What “The Tweak” was doesn’t matter. The end result is that Kentucky finally bought-in. But will it last?
Atlantic 10 Tournament: Langston Galloway’s three-pointer sends Saint Joseph’s to semifinal round (VIDEO)
Mar 14, 2014, 6:22 PM EDT
The second Atlantic 10 quarterfinal of the day was a pivotal one, with five-seed Dayton and four-seed Saint Joseph’s both looking to strengthen their case for inclusion in the NCAA tournament field. And unlike their last meeting, a 79-53 Hawk victory on February 25, their matchup in Brooklyn went right down to the wire. Langston…
Mar 14, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT
The Atlantic Tournament quarterfinals are being held in Brooklyn on Friday and the NBC Sports Network will be there to help you along the way. You can watch all of the games live on NBC Sports Live Extra. Things kicked off at noon St. Bonaventure beating Saint Louis in a thriller with a buzzer-beater, while Dayton…
Mar 14, 2014, 6:09 PM EDT
Add another vacancy to the coaching carousel, as Jacksonville makes a change in the leadership of its program.
Mar 14, 2014, 5:51 PM EDT
Since losing to Texas A&M in overtime on February 27, Tennessee hasn’t trailed at all in five consecutive games. The fifth game was played in the quarterfinals of the SEC tournament, with the Volunteers handling South Carolina 59-44 to set up a semifinal matchup with No. 1 Florida. Jarnell Stokes scored 22 points and grabbed…
Mar 14, 2014, 5:41 PM EDT
Pitt’s in the dance, but was today a sign that North Carolina won’t be for long?
Mar 14, 2014, 5:15 PM EDT
Down 18 midway through the second half, Ohio State seemed destined to drop their second-straight game to Nebraska. An unlikely hero, though, helped carry the Buckeyes to the Big Ten tournament semifinals.
Mar 14, 2014, 2:58 PM EDT
Stan Heath coached South Florida in just one NCAA tournament tournament appearance during his seven year tenure. That apparently wasn’t enough for the USF athletic administration.
Mar 14, 2014, 2:40 PM EDT
Devin Brooks tries to prove his off-the-corner-of-the-backboard assist was intentional.
- Bubble Banter: Monster day for teams on the cutline 1
- Pac-12 Tournament: Are we overlooking Arizona right now? 0
- Big 12 Tournament: Iowa State lights up a poor Kansas defense 2
- SEC Tournament: ‘The Tweak’ worked as Kentucky runs over LSU 0
- ACC Tournament: Pitt locks up tourney bid by beating struggling No. 16 North Carolina 2
- Atlantic 10 Tournament: St. Bonaventure upsets Saint Louis with a three at the buzzer (VIDEO) 6
- Bracketology: Final No. 1 seed up for grabs 5
- NBCSports.com’s 2014 College Basketball All-Americans (12)
- Wichita State will head into the NCAA tournament 34-0 as a No. 1 seed (12)
- No. 1 Florida’s undefeated SEC season not just a by-product of their league (6)
- Don’t mess with Aaron Craft’s memory (6)
- Atlantic 10 Tournament: St. Bonaventure upsets Saint Louis with a three at the buzzer (VIDEO) (6)